164 unique books representing the breadth and diversity of independent publishing honored in the 32nd annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award™ program.
(Manhattan Beach, CA - March 19, 2020) -- Today, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) – www.ibpa-online.org – announced finalists in the prestigious IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards™ program, the association’s flagship award program recognizing excellence and innovation in independent publishing for 32 years.
In May 2020, one finalist in each of the fifty-five categories will be named a Gold winner during a special online announcement. The remaining finalists in each category will become Silver winners.
Representing the breadth and diversity of independent publishing nationwide, finalists in each of the fifty-five categories include such titles as The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook (Weldon Owen, an imprint of Insight Editions), Why Women Hunt (Wild River Press), Art in the White House (The White House Historical Association), It's Okay to Say "They": Tips for Educator Allies of Transgender and Nonbinary Students (Dave Burgess Consulting), and A Textile Traveler's Guide to Guatemala (Thrums Books).
Other finalists include: Out of the Shadow of 9/11: An Inspiring Tale of Escape and Transformation (Loving All Nations Press), The Disruption Mindset: Why Some Organizations Transform While Others Fail (Ideapress Publishing), Why Do They Hate Us? Making Peace with the Muslim World (Top Reads Publishing), and The Interactive Constitution: Explore the Constitution with Flaps, Wheels, Color-Changing Words, and More! (Bushel & Peck Books).
"Winning an IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award says to bookstores, reviewers, and readers, 'This is one of the best books published in this category and it deserves to be noticed'," said Patagonia Books publisher and incoming IBPA Board Chair Karla Olson. "The finalists, which reflect the highest standards of professionalism and attention to detail, celebrate the innovation and diversity coming out of today’s independent publishing community."
Added IBPA COO Terry Nathan, "I started managing the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award program in the early 90s and each year I'm amazed at the improvement in quality of books over the previous year. Since the beginning, IBPA has challenged independent publishers to compete at the highest level. That challenge is being met through this program. Independent publishing is alive and well."
Last year’s IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award ceremony was a grand event held on April 5th, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Although this year's in person ceremony was cancelled on March 11, 2020 due to COVID-19, a special online announcement revealing Gold winners is planned for May 2020.
Over 160 volunteer librarians, booksellers, and design and editorial experts – most of whom have decades of book industry experience – judged the 1,697 entries submitted to the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award program. The judging process took seven months, beginning in September 2019 and continuing into March 2020. At the end of the process, all 1,697 entrants will be given a written critique from each of the three judges who reviewed the book.
"The first time I entered one of my company's In 30 Minutes guides for consideration in the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award program, we didn't win the Gold or Silver," said i30 Media Corp founder and former IBPA Board Member Ian Lamont, "But we got something even more valuable from the process: critical feedback from design and editorial judges letting us know exactly what worked ... and what didn't. My team took that advice to heart, and since then we have not only won several 'Bennies,' but have also created books that convey a sense of professionalism and publishing excellence to readers."
Moving moments from the April 5, 2019 award ceremony in Chicago, Illinois, included Sixtus Z. Atabong, author of My Father’s Gift: How One Man’s Purpose Became a Journey of Hope and Healing, accepting a Gold IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award™ in the Inspirational category on behalf of his publisher Koehler Books. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Atabong said: "I wanted to tell this story… to tell the kids in Africa, the kids in South Central America, the kids in the inner cities of Chicago, and everywhere around the world, that you got to believe in yourself, believe in your divine purpose, and you, too, will make it, and you, too, will one day stand here and tell your story. Thank you so much for this honor. I am incredibly honored."
About the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award Program
The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award program, which include over fifty categories recognizing excellence in book editorial and design, are regarded as one of the highest national honors for independent publishers. The awards are unique in that the verbatim judging forms are returned to all participating publishers, providing entrants with direct feedback on each submission.
The awards are administered by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), with help from over 160 volunteer book publishing professionals including librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers, and editors.
About the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA)
Founded in 1983 to support independent publishers nationwide, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) leads and serves the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. With over 3,000 members, IBPA is the largest publishing association in the U.S. Its vision is a world where every independent publisher has the tools and knowledge needed to professionally engage in all aspects of the publishing industry.